Talking to your Children About Violence

photo-1445633743309-b60418bedbf2Acts of societal violence are difficult for children to process and understand. In these times of confusion, as parents, we’re often faced with the challenging task of explaining these sensitive issues.  Moreover, because the news continues to saturate our daily lives, routine talks with your children may be appropriate. While there is not clear-cut formula or script, consider following these strategies as you talk to your children about the news.

PBS Parent’s Strategies for Talking and Listening recommends that parents should start by finding out what your child already knows. This gives children an opportunity to present their ideas and preconceived notions.

At that time, parents might ask, “Why do you think that happened?” or “How does that make you feel?” or “Are there ways that we could help?”

As you share, remember to place events within an age appropriate context. Young children require deeper explanation; meanwhile, older children tend to think more logically about these complex ideas.

It is important to provide regular exposure to the news within appropriate limits. Perhaps you could listen to the news, watch a daily broadcast and read the newspaper together? You might relate a news topic with subjects that they’re studying in school or places that they visited.

Above all, remind your children that they are not alone. Monitor for sign of stress, depression, anxiety and seek appropriate health care if necessary.

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